Saturday, February 16, 2013

SCWC: Drafting Dialogue to Die For

  • Outlines are not required for writing, totally up to you. Figure out how you think and whether or not outlines would be useful to you
  • Try Myers-Briggs personality test to help determine how you think and whether or not outlining will help you.
  • Dialogue is a craft, a tool in your toolbox. Good dialogue can salvage a really bad scene/chapter/story.
  • Written dialogue is not real – people usually don't speak in books the way people actually speak in real life.
  • Keep your reader aware of who's actually talking
  • What people say tells you more about them than a descriptive paragraph; more revealing when you listen to the character talk.
  • Dialogue can also move action/plot forward by foreshadowing.
  • Readers don't like for the author to tell them everything; they like to figure some things out on their own. Readers like to be challenged.
  • Writing multiple people having a conversation can be difficult (avoid if possible). Try to keep just two people in a conversation, but if there are more, have some of them be quiet for awhile.
  • Easiest dialogue to write: action.
  • Important to master dialogue even if it's not used a lot
  • Learn vocabulary!
  • Adverbs tend to weaken a description.
  • All rules go out the window with dialogue (okay to use passive voice here), because that's how people talk.
  • Dialogue must match the people speaking
  • Let the characters speak for themselves rather than writing paragraphs describing everything
  • Book dialogue is impressionism; giving the impression of people having a conversation.
  • Dialect is tricky and dangerous—most dialect is out of date. Don't get lured into cheap tricks (Irish English/South African English vocabulary, verb placement, word arrangement/flow, etc)
  • Make the reader do the work: “She spoke with the honeyed tones of southern Alabama.” The reader will now know where she's from and will automatically insert the accent on their own.
  • Dialogue will help you guide the reader's imaginations – how they picture characters, setting, etc
  • White space: give the reader a chance to breathe/take a break with dialogue. Dialogue can be used to generate humor
  • “write tight”; don't waste words. Leave out crap the reader doesn't really doesn't need to know
  • The only way you're going to get this writing done is to sit down and WRITE!
Exercise - dialogue used to develop characters

Hell no!” Bobby whimpered.
What's the matter?” Billy snarled. “Ya chicken?”
I don't wanna. It's scary.”
It's not scary. You're just a little chicken.”
“Shut up! I'm gonna tell Mom!”
No you're not, you little whiner. You're gonna do exactly what I say, otherwise I'm gonna take your allowance. I know where you hide it, too.”
I hate you,” Bobby said.

No comments:

Post a Comment